Denmark Mulls New Power Links to Germany, Netherlands and Norway

Energinet.dk, the Danish transmission grid company, is considering boosting the number and capacity of electricity connections to Germany, the Netherlands and Norway to increase market integration.

Power transmission capacity on the Danish-German mainland border may rise to 3,000 megawatts in each direction in 2021, or even earlier, Dorthe Vinther, vice president of electricity system development at Energinet, said yesterday by phone from Fredericia, Denmark. Before that, the country plans a first 700- megawatt link to the Netherlands, and later, a fifth cable to Norway, adding unspecified capacity to the existing 1,700- megawatt link, she said.

The country plans to strengthen links to other countries as it prepares for the growing role of intermittent wind power, to help offset variable demand and supply. Currently, Germany can ship 1,500 megawatts to Denmark, while installed capacity is for 1,780 megawatts in the other direction.

“We think power links between Denmark and Germany will increase quite a lot in the coming years, on a general need to boost cross-border capacity and also pave the way for a surge in wind power output” Vinther said.

Last year, Danish government and opposition parties agreed to cut coal use by 50 percent over the next eight years and increase the share of wind power from 29 percent of a total 33.4 terawatt-hours production in 2011 to nearly half, increasing the country’s reliance on imports when winds are low.

Denmark needs to build all the cross-border cables it can to handle the increasing dependence on imports, Charlotte Soendergren, chief consultant at the Danish Energy Association, said by e-mail yesterday from Frederiksberg, Denmark.

Business Case

Energinet and its Dutch partner TenneT Holding BV have delayed by three years to 2018 a project to build a 700-megawatt cable to the Netherlands, Vinther said. “We’re re-evaluating the business case and investment calculations to see if it is financially viable to build, since Germany’s plans to boost its grid changes the premise for the cable,” Vinther said.

Norway and Denmark have three power links in operation, comprising the Skagerrak cables with a joint capacity of 1,000 megawatts, with a fourth 700-megawatt link to come online at the end of 2014.

The company is also studying a fifth subsea link to Norway, she said.

“We have made initial economic feasibility studies for a new cable to Norway, perhaps to be built after 2025,” Vinther said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Torsten Fagerholm in Helsinki at tfagerholm@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lars Paulsson at lpaulsson@bloomberg.net

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